The Onoville Marina & Reservoir Guide
Onoville Marina http://Onoville.org has been maintained and operated by the Cattaraugus County Department of Public Works since 1967. The facility generally opens for the season on the first Friday in May. The closing date is usually determined by late summer water levels. The facility launch ramp is opened year round and boats can excess the reservoir down to a water level of roughly 1305 feet above sea level.
The marina has 8 piers of docks and can berth approximately 400 boats up to 44' in length. Most dock slips 28' and longer have 30 amp shorepower. The marina has high quality, steel truss floating docks manufactured by Sullivan Floatation Systems and Shoremaster Inc. The two Sullivan dock systems are anchored with 'hurricane tested' Helix mooring anchors. The consulting engineer for all of the marinas floating dock replacement projects has been Frederic G. Hunt, P.E., of Columbus Ohio, a noted authority in floating dock design and engineering.
For an overview of the Kinzua Dam & Allegheny Reservoir Project go to: http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/rec/lakes/kinzuala.htm
A few boating things you should know:
The facility is staffed 24 hours a day 7 days per week during the operating season. Security problems are minimal.
The fuel dock is located on the end of pier #1. Hours vary depending on the time of the year and are posted at the booth. We try to be as accommodating as possible, if you need fuel and we're not open feel free to ask. Our marine fuel reasonably priced as compared to other marinas. We do take personal checks, we do not take credit cards at the fuel dock. Our rules and regulations do not allow you to bring fuel into the facility and transfer it into your boat. If you have direct hook up tanks that is ok.
Ice is available at the ticket booth. If the booth is closed and you need ice ask the attendant who is on the grounds somewhere. Ice is also available at the Bayview Mini Mart.
Showers and laundry are available in the building north of the playground. Showers are coin operated (quarters) If you need quarters we usually have plenty at the booth.
We generally go to the post office everyday during the week. If you have something to mail we would be happy to drop it off.
A vacuum operated pump out unit and water is located on a separate dock between piers #4 and #5. The pumpout unit is operated by a $3.00 token that you can purchase at the ticket booth or fuel dock. A male cam and groove coupling is used to attach the pumpout hose to your boat. Fittings are available at the ticket booth. The token is the same as used at Kinzua Wolf Run Marina.
The marina is centrally located to many other great attractions in the area. Allegany State Park, the State's largest, is to our east, the Allegheny National Forest is to our south. Chautauqua and Amish country is to the northwest. Salamanca, the Seneca Nation and Ellicottville are to our northeast. Web sites for some of these attractions are as follows:
- Allegany State Park http://www.nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/info.asp?parkId=91
- Amish Country http://AmishTrail.com
- Enchanted Mountains (Cattaraugus County Tourism) http://EnchantedMountains.com
- Chautauqua County Tourism http://www.tourchautauqua.com
- Chautauqua Institute http://www.ciweb.org
- Ellicottville http://www.ellicottvilleny.com
- Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel http://www.senecaalleganycasino.com
- Warren County (Pennsylvania) http://www.wcvb.net
Getting here: Location & Directions
Onoville Marina is located on the west bank of the Allegheny Reservoir just north of the New York State line in the Town of South Valley which is in the southwest corner of Cattaraugus County. For mail purposes we utilize a post office box which gives us a Steamburg address. For GPS coordinates latitude and longitude of the marina is N42o 01' 41.1' W078o 58' 06.2'. If you are programing a navigational device, Tom-Tom / Garmin use Frewsburg 14738 as the city location rather than Steamburg NY 14783.
Getting here from Buffalo and areas north: We recommend State Route 219 South to Salamanca and get on Interstate 86 (old route 17) heading west. Get off at Exit 17 the Steamburg / Onoville exit. Turn left from the off ramp, we are 8 miles south of the exit on the left hand side of the road.
Getting here from Warren PA and areas south: Unless you're familiar with the back roads, Scandia-Warren -Onoville Rd. etc. most travel from the south would be north on Route 62. Traveling north from Warren you will cross into New York State and turn right at the intersection of Routes 60 and 62. Traveling through Frewsburg you will come to a sharp bend in Route 62 where it meets Chautauqua County Route 36. Take Route 36 (Ivory Road) east and you will cross into Cattaraugus County. Chautauqua County Route 36 becomes Cattaraugus County Route 33 (Bone Run Rd). The Ivory-Bone Run Rd is rural but has no major elevation changes. Route 33 / Bone Run Rd. tees into the West Perimeter Road along the west side of the Reservoir. Turn right and the marina is just a few minutes down the road on the left hand side.
Getting here from areas east : If you are coming from areas east of Salamanca NY or Bradford PA you'll need to travel around the Reservoir in order to get to Onoville. Following directions from the North or South depending on your starting point should get you here.
Getting here from Erie and areas west :Take Interstate 86 (old Route 17) east to exit 17. (It's 57 miles from the intersection of Interstate 90 and 86 to Exit 17. Turn right off the off ramp. Marina is down the road 8 miles on the left hand side. Erie Pennsylvania is about an hour west of the marina. From Pittsburgh we would recommend Interstate 79 north to Interstate 86 east. From the Ohio / Pennsylvania State line to Exit 17 on Interstate 86 is 94+ miles.
The Onoville Staff
The marina's core group of five employees are very knowledgeable and very experienced. Recent staff projects include the installation of the new docks that constitute piers #5, #6, & #7 along with the shorepower system on pier #6, playground installation and roadway and launch ramp reconfiguration. Also sidewalk additions have been made allowing easier access to the center restroom. The facilities Manager is Jeff Davis who has worked at the facility since 1975. He has served as facility Manager for the past 28 years following Wallace 'Dutch' Fenton upon his retirement. In his position as Manager he has planned and overseen much of the reconstruction of the facility in addition to its day to day operation. He is a 1997 graduate of the International Marina Institute's Advanced Marina Management School. Jim Welch has served as the facilities Maintenance Manager for the past fourteen years. Prior to taking a position with the marina he was the Highway Supervisor of the Town of South Valley. Jim is very talented in many areas of the construction trades in addition to operating a variety of heavy equipment. Our senior seasonal staff includes Udell Singleton, Jerry Heinrich and John Lockwood. Between the three of them they have spent over 40 summers at the facility. Their experience covers a broad variety of work at the facility.
Camping at Onoville
Onoville has 70 campsites for rent, all of which have 30 amp power and water. We have two dump stations, one in each campground area. We are making yearly site improvements in our camping area and have come a long ways over the past few years. Recently adding cement patios at many sites. Site conditions vary in terms of space etc. most sites have limited shade if any. Reservations are taken for a minimum of three nights if the reservation is made earlier than 96 hours before arrival. Most weeks/ weekends during July and August are booked ahead of time. July and August are also Friday to Friday weekly reservation. We do not take reservations on line. For reservations call us at 716-354-2615. Best time to make reservations is M-F from 8 to 3:30. We suggest that you print out a map(s) http://onoville.org/marina_maps.shtml from this web site prior to calling so that you can see what sites we are discussing etc.
The Bayview Mini Mart rents pontoon and fishing boats. The boats are docked at the marina. Persons renting boats from the Bayview pay the standard parking fee when entering the marina. No one on the Reservoir, as of February 2008, rents houseboats. Pontoon boat rentals run from $150.00+ for 4 hours to $225.00+ for 8 hours plus gas. Weekend and weekly rates are also available. Fishing boats generally run from $40.00+ for 4 hours to $60.00+ for 8 hours.
Allegheny National Forest / Boat Access Only Camping
The Onoville facility is located just north of the Pennsylvania / New York State state line. Once you cross the State line, into Pennsylvania you are in the Allegheny National Forest. The National Forest maintains several camping areas that are accessible only by boat. The closet campsite to Onoville is Hooks Brook, located on the same side of the Reservoir as is the marina. Camping at one of these sites is first come / first served. A daily fee of $10.00 is charged. The Webbs Ferry Launch Ramp is located between Onoville and Roper Hollow. Many campers utilizing Hooks Brook and other boat access only campsites utilize Webbs Ferry to transfer their camping gear to the campsite if they have more than one load. The launch area does not have 24 hour staffing/security. After unloading they then bring their vehicle to Onoville for long term parking. The fee charged at Onoville is $5.00 for the day for the first day and $3.00 each day thereafter for parking. A weekly fee is also available. Downstream campers are free to utilize our showers and laundry etc.
Forest Service Web site info: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/allegheny/recreation/camping/
'everything from casual to sit down, all within a few minutes walk or drive'
- Nic-L-Inn 12045 Bone Run Road 716-354-5011 http://www.niclinn.com/home.html
- Bayview Mini Mart & Ice Cream Parlor 767 Perimeter Road 716-354-2021
- Horseshoe Inn Perimeter Road 716-354-5401
- Hide-A-Way Restaurant 2797 Route 394 Steamburg 716-354-6995
The Bayview also has a small general store adjacent to it with groceries and supplies.
Deep Wood Vacation Home Rentals, multiple units, located south of the marina in Russell Pa.
Contact Marty Hinton at 1-814-757-8848 web site - www.deepwoodrentals.com
In New York State marine patrols are conducted by Deputies of the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department. The marine patrol also teaches a number of yearly safe boating classes, one of which is usually in the Onoville area. These classes are required in order to operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC) on the Reservoir. http://www.sheriff.cattco.org/
In Pennsylvania marine patrols are conducted by Waterways Conservation Officers working out of the Northwest Regional Office of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. http://www.boat-ed.com/pa/course/p4-18_pa_info.htm
If you are going to fish on the 'upper' end of the reservoir, above the New York State / Pennsylvania State Line you will be fishing primarily on the territory of Seneca Nation of Indians (SNI). You will need a SNI fishing license in order to do so. SNI fishing licenses are available at the Bayview Mini Mart & Ice Cream Parlor and Highbanks Campground, which is operated by the Seneca Nation.
You do not need a New York State fishing license to fish within the boundaries of the Seneca Nation. If you are going to be fishing in the area of Friends Launch ramp, which is operated by Allegany State Park, you will need a New York State license.
When fishing in Pennsylvania you will need a Pennsylvania fishing license. You can obtain one on-line by visiting the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's web site. http://www.fish.state.pa.us/license.htm
Record Fish Taken From Kinzua's Waters
The New York State's second largest walleye was caught by John Fluder in May 1994 using a Mr. Twister jig. The fish weighed 16 pounds and 7 oz.
A new State record walleye was caught in the Allegheny River upstream of the Reservoir in January of 2009. The new record was 16 pounds 9 oz.. Length was 34 inches.
The Pennsylvania record walleye was caught by Mike Holly in 1980. The fish weighed 17 pounds and 9 oz.
The Pennsylvania record Northern Pike was caught by Carl Stoltz on New Years Day in 2003. The 48' Northern weighed 35 pounds.
What's with those rocks?
The banks of the Allegany reservoir around Onoville Marina hold a record of the Devonian and Ordovician periods in Pennsylvania and New York State.Ê During those periods, around 400 million years ago, this area was covered by a shallow sea.Ê This is why you can find many shell fossils in the rocks!Ê The shells are the remains of brachiopods, which were organisms similar to modern mollusks.Ê There are several types of brachiopods that can be seen around the shoreline.Ê The strophomenide brachiopod looks like a capital letter "D."Ê The other common type is the Pentanerus, which has a curvy form.Ê Brachiopod fossils are often found clustered together.ÊÊÊÊÊÊ
Another fossil you can see in the rocks of this area are bryzoans.Ê The bryzoans were colonial animals that grew together in branching shapes.Ê Their fossils often look like tree twigs.
Another item to notice is that the sedimentary / fossil layers are horizontal meaning that the hills in this area are not mountains but rather an eroded plateau. Southern Cattaraugus County is the only place in upstate New York that wasn't covered by the Wisconsin Glacial advance, what geologists call the Salamanca Re-entrant. Prior to this time the Allegany River flowed northwest at Steamburg eventually depositing its water into Lake Erie. Blocked by the glaciers the river was forced to turn south again into Pennsylvania.
Area Golf Courses
Onoville patrons who golf gravitate to two courses located just south of the marina in Russell, Pennsylvania. they are:
- Blueberry Hill Golf Course ..... Phone 814-757-8620 www.blueberryhillgc.com
- Cable Hollow Golf Course ..... Phone 814-757-4765 www.cablehollow.com
- Cardinal Hills Golf Course, Randolph, NY Phone 716-358-5409
Daily Reservoir Report and Forecast
The Allegheny Reservoir is a multipurpose flood control project operated by the Pittsburgh District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition to flood control water from the project may be released during the summer months in order to maintain flows and water quality downstream. Water levels can vary considerable over the course of the year. Winter pool levels are usually maintained at about 1305' above sea level. Summer pool is considered to be 1328' above sea level. Maximum flood storage level is 1365 feet above se level. Operating parameters of the Onoville facility are generally between 1315' above sea level up to about 1340' above sea level. Daily reservoir level information can be obtained at the following Corps of Engineers web site or phone number:
On the web: http://wmw.lrp.usace.army.mil/current/forecast.html
By phone : 814-726-0164
Need a Life Jacket ?
Onoville Marina is a long time participant in the BoatUS Foundations 'Life Jacket Loaner Program'. We have loaner life jackets sized for infants, children and youths.
Communications and Safety
Cell phone coverage in most of the reservoir area is weak. Generally it is better if you're in the main part of the reservoir of New York and signal strength is worse in the back bays.
Many boaters utilize VHF marine band radios, monitoring the hailing channel #16 and then changing to channel #68 or another channel to talk. The marina generally monitors channel 16 when the ticket booth is staffed.
Keep in mind that during much of the year, post Labor Day, pre-Memorial Day, patrons of the reservoir may have the opportunity to have a 'wilderness' type experience. You may be the 'only' person out on the water. If assistance is needed help may be difficult if not impossible to summon quickly. Roads are located far from the water in most areas. Hiking out if needed may be difficult if not impossible.
If a land line phone or cell phone is available calling 911 will access both emergency services in Pennsylvania and New York States.
The closest hospital to the marina is WCA Hospital located on Foote Avenue in Jamestown NY. Taking either Bone Run Road or Sawmill Run Road west to Frewsburg will connect you with State Route 62. Take Route 62 south towards Warren, when it intersects with Route 60, take Rt. 60 north into Jamestown. Route 60 is Foote Avenue when it is in Jamestown. Hospital in on the right.
Eagles and Ospreys
Ospreys are fairly common along the U.S. east coast. Plenty of eagles and ospreys are often seen in this area, unfortunately not at the same time. From early April through Labor Day the reservoir has an ever increasing number of ospreys present. They are often seen on nesting platforms throughout the reservoir and increasing have taken to nesting on utility poles adjacent to the roadways around the reservoir. Ospreys catch fish and are quite tolerant of humans. We usually have a pair nesting in the back of the bay at Onoville along with nests at Bone and Pierce Runs.
The reservoir has had several active eagle nests over the past few years. Some nests are reused for several years and at other times the birds move every year. During the summer months eagles are spread out over the reservoir and river and sightings are less common than at other times of the years. The best time to see eagles is in the dead of winter, when the reservoir is frozen over as they congregate at the tail waters area below the Kinzua Dam. As the ice begins to melt on the upper part of the Reservoir, in March, they move upstream and are often seen on the ice sometimes in groups. Sightings of a dozen or more eagles are not uncommon in the early spring.
Is it an eagle or an osprey ? Eagles are large birds with a large wingspan. Wings are straight. Young eagles are all black and it is several years before they show the usual white head and tail markings with a dark body of an adult. Ospreys are much smaller, have a bent wing and are white across the belly and under wing area. When perched, eagles sit very straight, up and down. Ospreys are usually oriented in a 45 degree angle. If the bird in question is perched on a utility pole or nesting platform it is most likely an osprey.
Ospreys, also known as 'fish hawks' migrate during the year. Recently a nesting pair on the Alum Creek Reservoir in central Ohio was tracked over the winter months. Leaving central Ohio in early September they arrived at the Amazon River late in the month. In early March they repeated the trip arriving back in Ohio early in April.
From the 1879 'HISTORY OF CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, NEW YORK
The only hamlet in the town, was the center of the lumber trade, and a depot for supplies for men working in camps. It was formerly locally known as "Jugville," because, it is said, every lumberman carried from here a jug of ardent spirits when he went into the woods in the fall. It received the present name about the time the post-office was established, which it was proposed to call by the name of the town. But there being another South Valley in the State, it became necessary to select some other name. A meeting for this purpose was held, but the citizens could not harmonize upon a suitable term. One after another was declined, generally with the remark "Oh, no, that will not do." The wag of the hamlet, William Webber, heard the various names in silence, and then suggested, "Well, call it Oh, no,ville, then, and be done with it." The quaintness of the idea pleased people, and the term was adopted with a modified orthography,--Onoville.
From the 'HISTORY OF CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, NEW YORK'
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers.Philadelphia: L.H. Everts, 1879, Edited by Franklin Ellis CHAPTER ON THE TOWN OF South Valley
Allegheny Reservoir & Onoville Marina
During the late 1950's and early 1960's much controversy was taking place in the southwest corner of Cattaraugus County. The center of attention was the construction of a Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the upper Allegheny River north of Warren, Pennsylvania. The dam was to become known as the Kinzua Dam and the impoundment was to be known as the Allegheny Reservoir was approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. The project was to be a multipurpose project providing downstream users with flood control, low flow augmentation, and improved water quality. Upstream benefits would be a 24 mile long lake suitable for a number of recreational interests. Waters from 'Kinzua' would stretch as far north as Salamanca when the Dam was at operating at maximum flood pool.
Plans were being made to relocate communities, highways, railroads, utilities and cemeteries prior to backing up the water. In Cattaraugus County much of the land that would be inundated would be on the ancestral homelands of the Seneca Nation of Indians. An alternative plan funded by the Seneca Nation was prepared by Dr. Arthur E. Morgan, a noted flood control engineer. His plan would have diverted excess flood waters through the Conewango Basin eventually into Lake Erie. An independent engineering firm considered the alternative plans as to costly and so the Kinzua project continued to move forward. Ground for the project was broken on October 22,1960.
Throughout the 1950's the Cattaraugus County Legislature had passed several resolutions opposing the construction of the Dam at Kinzua. As a result when appropriations were made by Congress to construct the Dam no moneys were allocated for the construction of recreational facilities in the New York State portion of the Reservoir.
Once it appeared that the Dam was going to be constructed despite the controversy and objections the County changed its focus to providing some recreational facilities for County residents. In July 1962, the Cattaraugus County Planning Board passed a motion creating a three member committee to advance ideas to be submitted to the Corps of Engineers for preparing a Master Plan for recreational development in Cattaraugus County.
The recommendations of this committee were published in a report on March 11, 1963. The report identified eight potential sites in the County including an area on Sawmill Run that was formerly known as the hamlet of Onoville. With the County Planning Boards strong recommendation and the assistance of President Kennedy the Corps of Engineers announced that they would authorize the construction of a launch ramp and parking lot at the Onoville site by 1965. While this activity was taking place 83 miles of highway, 37 miles of railroad track and 65 miles of power lines and 66 miles of telephone lines were being relocated. Entire communities, such as Kinzua, Corydon, Onoville, Quaker Bridge and Red House located between Warren and Salamanca soon ceased to exist. The Town of Elko, located in the southwest corner of the County was absorbed into adjacent townships. Construction was completed and the Dam was dedicated on September 16, 1966.
At the former hamlet of Onoville a public launch ramp and parking lot took the place of homes and businesses. Once the reservoir reached summer pool boaters from New York , Pennsylvania and Ohio flocked to the recreational sites surrounding the Reservoir. In Pennsylvania sites were operated by the U.S. Forest Service. The Onoville site, at that time was the only access point in New York State, was operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Due to a lack of sanitary facilities and other unanticipated concerns the County Health Department closed the Onoville site in 1967. In order to operate the site more efficiently the Corps sought out a partner to assist in the operation. Through its involvement with the Cattaraugus County Planning Board it wasn't long before Cattaraugus County was involved with the operation of the site under the oversight of the County Planning Department.
With an interest in improving the site and moneys made available by the State and the Federal governments a gradual development of the site began to take place. Funds were obtained from the Corps of Engineers for the preparation of a Master Plan for the Onoville Marina Park. This plan was prepared under the supervision of the Planning Department and staff. The proposed plan called for extensive development at several sites on the New York State portion of the Reservoir with Onoville serving as the primary hub of activities.
In 1976 the County entered into a 50 year lease agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to operate and maintain the Onoville facility. Over the next ten years multiple projects were undertaken which included excavating portions of the bay so as to provide a harbor of sufficient depth for three floating dock systems. Upland areas, created with fill from the excavations in the bay, became parking lots and gentling rolling lawns. Restrooms, shower facilities, laundry and other support facilities were added to accommodate the boaters that eventually filled the 400 dock spaces and 70 campsites now located at the site.
In 1982 the County Legislature transferred operation of the Onoville facility from the Planning Department to the newly created Department of Public Works.
Throughout the years work at the facility has continued as the original improvements age and need to be replaced. A number of projects to replace the original docks systems were started in 1993. With the installation of new docks in the fall of 2006 all of the facilities original docks have been replaced with new state of the art floating docks. New facilities have been added in addition to upgrading the facilities roadways, water and electrical infrastructure to accommodate larger recreational vehicles and boats.
New studies such as the Allegany State Park Perimeter Study and the Onoville Marina Assessment by Destination Development Inc. detail the tremendous potential of this all ready popular location. With the increase, usage the County has developed a renewed interest in expansion onto other property included in the facilities lease agreement.
For a facility that started it's history as an afterthought, it has developed into one of the Reservoir's major recreational facilities.